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Arroyo v. Allstate Insurance Group

Superior Court of Delaware

July 6, 2017

ISABEL BAHENA ARROYO, AND YURY BAHENA Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE GROUP, Defendant.

          Submitted: June 6, 2017

         Upon Defendant's Motion for Costs, DENIED.

          Jason D. Warren, Esquire, Timothy A. Dillon, Esquire, McCann & Wall, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

          Arthur D. Kuhl, Esquire, Reger, Rizzo & Darnall, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          WALLACE, J.

         I. Introduction

         From May 15 to 16, 2017, this Court heard this automobile accident liability action brought by a mother and daughter against their automobile insurance company. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant, Allstate Insurance Group ("Allstate"), on May 16th. Two days later, Allstate moved this Court to assess costs against Plaintiffs (Allstate's own policyholders) Isabel Bahena Arroyo and Yury Bahena. For the reasons stated below, Allstate's motion is DENIED.[1]

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         This was an uninsured motorist claim brought by Plaintiffs Isabel Bahena Arroyo and Yury Bahena against their automobile insurer, Allstate. A school bus crashed into the Bahenas' vehicle resulting in significant bodily injuries and damages. The police incident report suggested that the collision was triggered by an unknown driver of an unidentified vehicle who did not remain at the scene following the collision. The initial claim submitted by the Bahenas to the bus driver's liability insurer was denied. That denial led to this action seeking coverage from the Bahenas' own insurer, Allstate. Ms. Bahena Arroyo and Mrs. Bahena alleged Allstate was contractually liable for the acts of the phantom driver as an uninsured motorist. Allstate believed it was not.

         Following trial and the jury verdict in Allstate's favor, Allstate filed a motion for costs. The Bahenas oppose that motion. Invoking 10 Del. C. § 5101 and this Court's Civil Rule 54(d), Allstate's application enumerates the costs requested simply as follows:

Lexis Filing fees

$607.17

Service of trial Subpoenas

$60.00

TOTAL

$667.17[2]

         III. Discussion

         Under Delaware law, the Court, in its discretion, may award costs to a prevailing party.[3] Such costs may include filing and service fees.[4] Under 10 Del. C. § 5101, costs are "[g]enerally" recoverable.[5] And this Court's Civil Rule 54(d) permits cost awards "unless the Court otherwise directs."[6]

         This Court has observed more than once: "[s]ometimes it is important to win with grace."[7] Too, it is always important to both be clement and appear fair in victory. Here, many of the costs Allstate requests can ...


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